Full Guide on Preparing Your Vehicle for a Long Summer Road Trip or Travel | Team Chrysler
Posted on May 27, 2018
We know you love summer in Mississauga, Toronto and Oakville, but sometimes you need to check out other highways and bi-ways. In Ontario, we love our summer road trips. Whether you’re crossing the country or zipping up to a cottage, it’s essential to make sure your vehicle is road-ready. Here at Team, we want our road-tripping customers to have a safe and comfortable summer of adventure. Some of the following tips are DIY and others require a skilled GTA automotive technician.
Lights, Wipers, Battery
If you can’t see well because of the condition of your headlights, other drivers probably can’t see you well either. For optimum safety and visibility, wipe all vehicle lights with a soft cloth at regular intervals to remove dust and bugs. Replace bulbs that are growing dim and of course, those that have burned out. Windshield wiper health isn’t just for winter. A flash summer storm can make visibility a challenge. Replace thinning or cracked wiper blades and fill up your washer fluid. Make sure your windshield is clean at the start of your trip, and take time to give it a wash as needed. If you’re not confident about replacing your own windshield wiper blades securely, have them checked before hitting the road. Batteries don’t just fail in winter, either. Your mechanic has professional gear to check the life of your battery. DIY: Keep posts and connections clear of corrosive debris but ALWAYS use goggles and gloves and avoid skin contact with the corrosives, as they will burn. If your battery caps are removable, check the fluids each month, again using extreme caution, gloves and eye protection.
Tires & Brakes
Checking your tire pressure once a month is a great practice all year long, as is having a good look at the treads. Balding tires on hot asphalt can prevent safe stopping. Have the tires rotated every 8000 kilometres or so to ensure even wear. If your car is pulling to one side, it’s time for an alignment check-up. Worrying about a flat tire is no fun: carry a jack and a spare tire. Remember though that if you don’t feel confident changing a tire yourself, or road conditions make it unsafe, a roadside assistance program like CAA is money well spent to put your mind ease. Your vehicle owner’s manual has a suggested schedule for brake check-ups, but if you hear noises, feel grinding or grabbing, or have concerns about the time it takes you to come to a full stop, take it in.
Engine & Oil
The check engine light comes on for a variety of reasons (link to old blog), but why take chances with your engine health when you’re venturing far from home? Air, fuel and PCV filters need to be changed at intervals, especially right after winter when the roads have been salted, sanded and are throwing up springtime dust. If you have clunky starts or feel resistance as you accelerate, see a qualified technician as soon as possible. Change your oil regularly. It’s a simple way to care for your car. If you take lots of short jaunts around town, are towing cargo, or plan a long car ride, your oil needs to be changed out about every 5000 kms.
Air Conditioning & Cooling System
Who wants to sit on the 400 in a heatwave, wishing they’d taken the time to have that sluggish AC looked at before you headed out of town? If your AC isn’t operating at optimum levels to begin with, a hot spell may torch it and cause a costly replacement. Don’t jeopardize your health and comfort and that of your human and animal passengers. Newer vehicles have in-cabin air filters. Find out how often they need to be swapped out for fresh ones and do it. Again, an easy enough fix to keep your car purring along in mid-July. Your cooling system also needs consistent attention. Flush and refill the engine coolant every two years. Drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a licensed professional. If you’re a YouTube mechanic and changing out your coolant yourself, make VERY sure that radiator cap is stone cold before you try unscrewing it.
Roadside Emergency Kit
We tend to think about roadside emergency kits for winter, but they are just as crucial in summer. Chat with your mechanic about what makes for a great kit. Some starter items: first aid kit, flashlight, roadside flares, booster cables, a light blanket, rain gear. Nobody really wants to think about accidents or breakdowns, but why not be prepared? Pro tip: have a glass water bottle filled when you embark and when you take breaks. If you do find yourself temporarily stranded on the side of the road in the summer sun, drinkable water is going to be your best friend.
Have fun and be safe as you explore the open road, from all of us here at Team Chrysler